I read all sorts of birth stories while I was pregnant, and while all of them made me cry, none of them really put my mind at ease. Which ones was I to believe? The women who labored for 16 hours, finally giving birth by C-section to a nine-pound baby? Or women who walked around at six centimeters not knowing it, and then gracefully slid out a perfect bundle of joy? I guess until you experience the wonders of labor and birth it is really one of life's mysteries! This was my first pregnancy and I worried a lot. I had all sorts of fears for the pregnancy and the delivery. I never had any Braxton Hicks contractions. At 9 AM on September 11, I bolted awake and jumped out of bed, not knowing why I had done so. Then I realized my water had just broken all over the carpet (which, I guess is better than in the bed).
Even though logically I knew what had happened, I called for my husband who was sleeping in the guest room because with me, my belly, and the barrage of pillows, there had been no room for him. In the bathroom, he dutifully checked that it was my water and not just a loose bladder. Great, I thought, my due date was a week away and I hadn’t packed my bags and I had four loads of laundry to do. I called the hospital and they told me to come in right away. Instead, I showered and packed my bags, then proceeded to do the laundry.
Around 11 AM, I began to feel very mild contractions. At the time, I wasn't even sure what I was feeling. An hour later the contractions were still mild, but by then I knew they were contractions. We got to the hospital about 1 PM. I was planning on a natural labor and my contractions had really picked up but I was able to breathe through them. I was checked and was at four-to-five centimeters so I got into the bed to relax for a bit. By 2 PM, I was crying from the pain, breathing and moaning, while rocking in the chair. The contractions were coming so fast and hard that nothing worked, and I felt like I couldn’t go through with it. I mumbled something about changing my mind, and to give me drugs! My husband calmly and soothingly told me no, like I had asked for a candy bar or soda.
Around 4 PM, I felt the need to poop and that got the nurse’s attention quickly. Sure enough, I was at 10 centimeters and it was time to start pushing. I don't remember any pain while pushing. It didn't feel good, but it did feel productive. I shouted at the doctor, “Don't cut me!” and my husband told him I didn't want an episiotomy.
About five pushes later this little blob was placed on my stomach. She looked purple and didn't seem to be breathing. She must have been OK because they let my husband cut the umbilical cord. I started to cry as they whisked her away. No one said anything, and then mercifully, I heard a faint little wail. As my husband stood next to me, holding our precious daughter, I felt exhausted and exhilarated. I wanted everything to be over so we could just sit quietly together.
My beautiful daughter, Lynn Marie, was born at 4:51 PM, weighing six pounds, 15 ounces. Delivering the placenta seemed to take longer than pushing the baby out, and I was frustrated that it was taking so long. I felt an uncomfortable, slight pulling sensation while the doctor was trying to get the placenta to detach. I looked up at my husband and said, “That wasn't so bad; I could do it again.” He laughed.
Finally, I was able to relax with my new baby and husband. A few family members came to visit us, then the nurse took Lynn to the nursery so I could go to bed. The first pee after the delivery was worse than birth! It stung, and the stitches from the tear were aching constantly, but by the next day I felt great physically. It still stung a little when I went to the bathroom and I was tender around the stitches for about a week. I'd say the thing that took the most getting used to was the lack of sleep, but that too passed eventually!